UP fencers claim women’s back-to-back epee title, end 19-year foil gold drought

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fencing Team concluded their UAAP Season 86 campaign with a step-up in both divisions as the women’s team secured their first silver medal finish since Season 80, while their male counterparts were awarded as fourth-placers at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion on Sunday, March 17.

Both teams enjoyed a rise from last year’s bronze finish for women’s and fifth place for men’s.

Serving as one of the highlights of UP’s run was Juliana Gomez defending her epee individual crown after a comeback victory against De La Salle University’s Cyrra Vergara in a riveting Season 85 finals rematch, 15-14.

Nana Carbonell, on the other hand, conquered Eytria Olarte of three-peat women’s titlists University of the East, 15-11, to secure UP’s first women’s individual foil gold since Season 67. 

On top of her physical training with the team, the 20-year-old believes that their sports psychology preparations were the “biggest game-changer” this season.

“I am very lucky to be a part of a team that has really set forth and valued the mental well-being of each of its members this time around, and it really showed in the colors of the medals we brought home this season compared to last,” said the sophomore in an online interview with Tinig ng Plaridel.

Nana Carbonell in action against UE’s Eytria Olarte during the opening day of the UAAP Season 86 Collegiate Fencing Tournament. Photo by the UAAP

UP also snagged a team silver in both divisions as four-man epee squad Dale Gonzales, Hijo Tan, Lorenzo Malvar and Dexter Ramos fell short against eventual 10-peat men’s overall champions Red Warriors, 37-45, in the finals.

There was also no escape from the dominant UE fencers for the women’s foil team as Carbonell, Nami Noro, Nikki Manalastas and Mariel Flores were forced to bow out with a silver against the Olarte-led squad, 29-45.

Bronze medal hauls in the men’s category came from the valiant efforts of foil team Tan, Dustin Tan, Keonn Davies and Sandro Patricio with saber team John Paul Dayro, Sandro Sia, Xavier Reyes and Ravi Ibay.

The women’s teams followed the same double-bronze fate with Camille Belen, Ysabel Juinio, Gomez and team captain Careese Gepuela in epee with Carbonell, Jojerene Gonzales, Angela Dayro and Claudette Dayro in saber.

Four individual bronze medals also went to State U courtesy of Noro in women’s foil, A. Dayro in women’s saber, J. Dayro in men’s saber and Malvar in men’s epee.

The UP Women’s Fencing Team celebrated their most recent UAAP championship and ninth title in Season 67, while the men’s had their third and last in Season 73, according to their online archive.